Nathan Moore

Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences, Santa Fe NM

Attend Stanford University's Mindset Mathematics workshop to increase personal exposure to a variety of math problems and create a positive math culture that encourages creative problem solving.

Where I've Been

  • Stanford, California

My Fellowship in Images

At the workshop with a fellow Fund for Teachers fellow!
In front of the Stanford Graduate School of Education
Doing the number visuals activity
With my table group after the first day
Bringing back the YouCubed activities to summer math camp
Presenting my fellowship learning to my colleagues

Igniting Personal and Professional Growth

What changed as a result of your fellowship? Why was it vital for you to pursue this particular opportunity/experience? What learning gaps (yours and/or your students’) were/will be filled as a result of your fellowship?

This fellowship helped me to align the way I teach math with current research; I also feel like this is much more in line with my own philosophy and beliefs about teaching and learning. By participating in this fellowship I became part of a movement, some even call it a revolution. Specifically, I learned how to use problems and tasks to motivate learning; how to make math more visual; how to really promote a growth mindset in math class; and how to affirm that math is for everyone to learn.

How do you see your teaching evolving after your fellowship? Your students’ learning?

Based on my fellowship, I think my teaching will evolve by incorporating more tasks, better facilitating those tasks by talking more openly about mistakes and struggle, making math more visual, and focusing more on big ideas in algebra. Also, I think this fellowship introduced me to incredible resources that I plan to use in the classroom. Finally, extending my own personal learning network helped me realize that I can help to teach other teachers by sharing my learning, ideas, and lesson plans.

What were some unplanned or unexpected experiences or outcomes of your fellowship?

There were so many! I ended up connecting with a local organization using the Stanford materials and then running a math summer camp to help me put in to practice what I had started learning. This was an incredible experience and really helped me solidify what I had learned at the YouCubed workshop. One day during lunch I walked around Stanford and found the engineering building, which had several exhibits. My favorite was the original Google server, which was built in a case made out of LEGO

Impacting Your Classroom, School and Community

How will your students learn differently because of your new knowledge or skills?

I think that my biggest paradigm shift was realizing two things about students. First, everyone can learn math to high levels. Second, mistakes and struggle are signs of deeper learning. There is a moment the online class when Dr. Boaler tells her students, “I could give you problems that you would get all correct, but you wouldn’t be learning. It might feel good, but you wouldn’t be learning.” This year, my students will engage in much more productive struggle, debate, and deep thinking.

What specific events, projects or deliverables will your students experience related to your fellowship?

I already did a math camp with some of my students, which was a great experience. It was great to try out the activities and approach and to have time to explore them with students. It was also great to be able to talk to students at lunchtime about their feelings and experiences. This year, I will engage students in dozens of new problem-based tasks, including many activities from YouCubed.

How, specifically, will your fellowship extend beyond your classroom? (e.g. families, school-at-large, afterschool groups, surrounding community, colleagues, etc.)

I hope to really impact our school community by moving toward a more growth mindset compatible approach to math. In one of the online classes, Dr. Boaler warns against giving growth mindset messages without backing them up with compatible tasks, projects, and activities. When we tell students to have a growth mindset and then give them worksheets with dozens of practice problems, students still develop a fixed mindset around math. I will share what I have learned with colleagues and parents.

Inspiring the Future

Why was this opportunity transformative for your teaching on a macro-level?

I had so many experiences during this fellowship, and I think that the most transformative aspect of it was to meet people from around the world who are transforming math education. I have a clear vision now of how to incorporate new tasks and activities to make math class more accessible, free, and beautiful, but without sacrificing rigor.

Why do students benefit from this type of teacher learning?

Students benefit from this because this year I will be able to bring more research-based strategies to my students. This whole fellowship was really all about my students: learning how I can better help them to learn math. Also, I think that my students will benefit because I feel more confident in what I am doing in class. By equipping me with new tools and by helping me develop my own teaching philosophy, this fellowship will help students learn more.

How would you describe to a friend or grant funder the fundamental ways in which your fellowship changed your personal and/or professional perspective?

Connecting with other teachers, mathematicians, and researchers around the globe is an incredible experience. Especially in math class, it is so easy to see the worksheets, the textbooks, and the standardized test questions and to think that is what math is. This fellowship showed me that math is beautiful, free, creative, interesting, useful, fun, visual, and powerful beyond my expectations. Now, I get to figure out how to share that with my students.